CINCINNATI -- Vic Black hails from Amarillo, Texas, but for reasons he still hasn't been able to figure out, some members of his family have little use for the Cincinnati Reds and instilled that feeling in him.
He no doubt made them very happy Tuesday night. The New York Mets' rookie righthander took over in the ninth inning with a 4-2 lead and faced the minimum three batters to log his first career save.
Black, acquired from the Pittsburgh Pirates on Aug. 27, struck out lefty Jay Bruce to start the inning. He followed that up by striking out Todd Frazier on a wild pitch that let Frazier reach first base. Black bounced back by getting Zack Cozart to ground back to the mound, starting a game-ending double play and satisfying manager Terry Collins' curiosity about seeing the youngster in that role.
"I was very curious," said Collins, who suspects the team may have found a candidate for closer if Bobby Parnell can't come back from the herniated disk in his neck. "That's the best he's thrown. He pounded the strike zone. He challenged Jay Bruce, who I think is one of the best lefthanded hitters in the league."
Black, 2-0 with a 3.86 ERA in 12 games since joining the Mets before Tuesday's outing, made sure to get the game ball as a memento, though he wasn't sure where it was after the game. He was pretty sure it was being authenticated.
"I walked off the mound clenching it," said Black, who was filling in for a fatigued LaTroy Hawkins. "I'd better get it back. I'll go looking for it."
Pitching against the Reds allowed Black to utilize his family's long-standing hatred, which he said was further honed while pitching for the Pirates, who’ve spent much of this season locked in a race with the Reds and Cardinals for the NL Central.
"We never liked the Reds anyway," he said with a smile. "This was just watering that flower of hatred."